Monday, October 31, 2011

Blue Note 27002 Bud Powell

Blue Pearl. Bud Powell plays Blue Pearl and Cleopatra's Dream.
Japanese issue 45 rpm. This is the alternate take.

Bud Powell "Bouncing With Bud"

Sonny Rollins (ts), Fats Navarro (tp), Bud Powell (p), Tommy Potter (b), Roy Haynes (d). ( by the way, Roy Haynes is an absolute gentleman)
recorded August 1949

Art Blakey & Thelonious Monk - In Walked Bud

Art Blakey: Drums
Thelonious Monk: Piano
Johnny Griffin: Tenor saxophone
Bill Hardman: Trumpet
Spanky DeBrest: Bass

Lee Morgan - These Are Soulful Days

Lee Morgan: Trumpet
Jackie McLean: Alto saxophone
Bobby Timmons: Piano
Paul Chambers: Bass
Art Blakey: Drums

Hank Mobley & Lee Morgan - High And Flighty

Hank Mobley: Tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan: Trumpet
Wynton Kelly: Piano
Paul Chambers: Bass
Charlie Persip: Drums

Make A Stand (Occupy Wall St)

Remains Of Ancient Race Of Job Creators Found In Rust Belt

Recently, "The Onion" has more truth than our corporate "news". Please follow link to original.

Remains Of Ancient Race Of Job Creators Found In Rust Belt

WASHINGTON—A team of leading archaeologists announced Monday they had uncovered the remains of an ancient job-creating race that, at the peak of its civilization, may have provided occupations for hundreds of thousands of humans in the American Northeast and Midwest.

According to researchers, these long- forgotten people once flourished between western New York state and Illinois, erecting highly distinctive steel and brick structures wherever they went, including many buildings thought to have held hundreds of paid workers at a time.

"It's truly fascinating—after spending a certain number of hours performing assigned tasks, the so-called 'employees' at such facilities would receive monetary compensation that allowed them to support themselves and their families," said archaeologist Alan H. Mueller, citing old ledgers and time-keeping devices unearthed at excavation sites in the region. "In fact, this practice seems to have been the norm for their culture, which consisted of advanced tool users capable of exploiting their skills to produce highly valued goods and services."

"It's a complex and intriguing set of rituals we're still trying to fully understand," Mueller added. "But it appears as if their entire society was centered around creating, out of thin air, actual jobs that paid an actual living wage."

With his team having so far cataloged the decaying ruins of more than 400 edifices believed to have been used solely for human employment, Mueller said he now believes the inhabitants of mid-20th-century North America may have built their territory—in particular, the Great Lakes region and northern Appalachia—into one of the most advanced and prosperous civilizations in the world.

Numerous scholars told reporters the findings have challenged everything they thought they knew about the fundamental organization of human societies, calling it "staggering" and "almost unbelievable" that a culture predating our own had been able to provide work to nearly every person who sought it.

"By today's standards, the job creators' society was highly unusual," anthropologist Carla Delgado of the Smithsonian Institution said. "One of its more bizarre customs involved workers being employed at the same job at the same location day in and day out for their entire adult lives. It was grueling, perhaps, but astonishingly, some of these individuals were able to set aside part of their earnings for the future, slowly saving money with the hope of improving the prospects of their offspring."

"The amazing part is, this bafflingly high level of economic security went on for generations," Delgado added.

Archaeologists who participated in digs on the sites described ghostly scenes of intact but empty homes, halted conveyor belts, and crumbling storehouses still full of the lost people's signature "auto parts."

By examining recovered artifacts, they have reportedly been able to decipher the names of what they speculate must have been the grandest settlements from the height of the job creators' empire: cities known among the ancients as Gary, Lansing, Cleve-Land, Sandusky, and Pitt's Burg.

While stories have long been told of a great vanished race of job creators roaming the Midwest and providing employment to all able- bodied adults, historians said such accounts had previously been dismissed as apocryphal by the academic community.

"Tales of a long-passed time when jobs outnumbered people are particularly common among the region's older population," Professor Albert Decker of Rutgers University said. "Oral histories handed down across generations tell of travelers who, ages ago, ventured into the bleakest deeps of Illinois and saw grand, temple-like structures billowing smoke into the heavens as steely beams and flickering electrical boxes were fashioned from raw materials. What reason had we to believe such things could be possible?"

As to how the ancient cities of employment fell into ruin, scholars have argued the job creators may have exhausted their resources or, perhaps, been killed off by a competing race of foreign job creators.

"The remaining local population has its own mythology to explain the job-creating race's disappearance," Decker said. "Legend has it that they never died out, but rather entered a state of deep slumber from which they will one day awaken, bringing increased employment with them."

"And perhaps it's best to let the locals hold on to this belief," Decker added. "It's really the only thing they have left."

Crumbling Bridges’ Tab Leaves Business Paying

This from Bloomberg. Please follow link to original.

Some time ago, a person I was arguing with online told me "you are not guaranteed an infrastructure". I guess he believed a true "self made man" would build the roads and bridges to get his stuff to market -- then again, perhaps he didn't have a clue. Perhaps he thought that stuff just "appeared", like "magic".

Here's an article for all those anti-government, anti-tax, folks to read

Crumbling Bridges’ Tab Leaves Business Paying

Jim Benton, a Jeffersonville, Indiana, jewelry-store owner, says sales fell 40 percent in two weeks after the Sherman Minton Bridge connecting his border community to customers in Kentucky closed Sept. 9.

Fifteen miles from the bridge’s Kentucky side, officials at United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS)’s Worldport, the world’s largest automated package-handling facility, say they’ve used software to reroute trucks with no substantial impact. That’s not so easy for Benton, who said he’s keeping longer hours and buying less merchandise for the holiday season.

Benton’s plight is playing out for small businesses across the U.S., where 3,538 bridges were closed in 2010, as customers shop elsewhere rather than take detours. With the average U.S. bridge seven years from the end of its useful life, and one- fourth of 600,000 crossings classified by regulators as “structurally deficient,” more places will be hurt by closings, said Barry LePatner, founder of LePatner & Associates LLP, a New York-based construction law and consulting firm.

“Bridge failures throw a monkey wrench into the economic life of communities,” LePatner said. “Things aren’t going to get better, things are going to get much worse.”

The Minneapolis-St. Paul regional economy lost as much as $73 million after the collapse in August 2007 of the Interstate 35W bridge, according to a 2008 study by the University of Minnesota. Thirteen people died and 145 were injured when the bridge, Minnesota’s busiest, collapsed. It was rebuilt and reopened in September 2008.
Soda-Can Cracks

The Sherman Minton Bridge, which carried about 80,000 vehicles a day across the Ohio River, was closed after cracks as wide as a 12-ounce soda can were found in the structural steel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It will be closed indefinitely, according to a notice the Federal Highway Administration posted Oct. 27 in the Federal Register.

Benton says he’s having customers pick up repairs on Saturday, when the traffic isn’t as bad. He’s made special arrangements to return unsold merchandise.

The disrepair of U.S. surface-transportation systems cost businesses and households about $130 billion last year, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, based in Reston, Virginia. Of that, $32 billion is related to travel delays, it said in a report issued in July.

The average U.S. bridge is 43 years old, while the average useful life is generally about 50 years, according to the highway agency. The agency said in 2006 that it would cost $140 billion to immediately repair every deficient bridge in the U.S. That’s more than three times what the U.S. government receives in taxes annually to pay for road, mass transit and bridge projects.
Oceanic Bridge

The amount of traffic a bridge carries, the location of the next nearest bridge, and whether it’s on a commuter route determine how much economic impact a closing may have, Andrew Herrmann, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, said in an interview. The group in 2009 issued a report card that gave the condition of U.S. bridges a grade of C and overall infrastructure a D.

“We’re neglecting our investments in bridges,” Herrmann said. “Regular inspections is what’s keeping the driving public safe.”

The 72-year-old Oceanic Bridge spanning the Navesink River between Rumson and Middletown, New Jersey was closed Oct. 17. Within days, five families withdrew their children from Mountain Hill School in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, said Andrew Kaiser, the school’s owner. The closing added 15 minutes a trip to the school, time parents couldn’t spare, Kaiser said.

The families represent about 5 percent of enrollment at the private preschool and kindergarten, where tuition can be as much as $7,500 a student, Kaiser said.
Time Is Money

The Mountain Hill School is a six-minute drive from the closed bridge. The detour to get around it is as long as 9.1 miles for some families, he said. The 2,700-foot bridge is scheduled to open in May and is slated to be replaced within 10 years, according to the Monmouth County, New Jersey, website.

“If the bridge opening is delayed much longer than May, next year’s finances could be very interesting,” Kaiser said. Traffic congestion resulting from bridge closings has the the most obvious economic impact, increasing fuel consumption and disrupting schedules, Herrmann said.

A bridge built in 1929 over Lake Champlain in upstate New York was closed in 2009 after cracks were found. Residents had to take ferries to work and appointments. The ferry companies weren’t equipped for the volume and traffic to use them is often backed up for hours, he said. The bridge, which had about 3,000 vehicle trips a day, will reopen sometime next year, according to the New York Department of Transportation website.

“When there is only one crossing it can be a big economic problem,” Herrmann said.
UPS, FedEx

Companies like UPS, whose business model makes understanding the U.S. highway and bridge system a necessity, have developed information systems to reroute drivers when detours occur, Susan Rosenberg, spokeswoman for the Atlanta- based company, said in an interview.

“Contingency planning is in our DNA,” Rosenberg said. “We work around bridge closing in the same way we do floods or tornadoes, earthquakes or even tsunamis.”

Dealing with bridge closures is a “fairly standard” part of Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx Corp. (FDX) operations and the company “simply adjusts,” Jim McCluskey, a spokesman for the world’s largest package-delivery service, said in an e-mail.
Rural Bridges

Detours from bridge closings in rural areas can cost farmers 5 cents a bushel, according to a study by the Illinois Soybean Checkoff and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. The study said that closed or weight-restricted bridges lead to detours in rural areas of as much as 20 miles. About one-fifth of rural bridges are in poor to mediocre condition, according to the federal highway agency.

Randolph, Nebraska, farmer Jim Kuchta was charged $28,000 by his local township after a 40-year-old bridge he’d been using since 1979 collapsed two years ago as he drove across it in his combine.

Kuchta’s $350,000 combine exceeded the bridge’s weight limit of 11 tons. A crane was needed to pull out the combine at a cost of $1,400, Kuchta said in a telephone interview. Because the combine exceeded the weight limit, township officials charged him for the damage.

“That money disappears into a hole somewhere,” Kuchta said. “The whole process has to revamped.”

"Revamped" how?? Maybe be willing to pay some additional taxes? Maybe realize additional infrastructure spending helps EVERYONE? Perhaps join the 21st Century?

The Occupiers’ Responsive Chord

The latest from Robert Reich - follow link to original

The Occupiers’ Responsive Chord

Monday, October 31, 2011

A combination of police crackdowns and bad weather are testing the young Occupy movement. But rumors of its demise are premature, to say the least. Although numbers are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests the movement is growing.

As importantly, the movement has already changed the public debate in America.

Consider, for example, last week’s Congressional Budget Office report on widening disparities of income in America. It was hardly news – it’s already well known that the top 1 percent now gets 20 percent of the nation’s income, up from 9 percent in the late 1970s.

But it’s the first time such news made the front page of the nation’s major newspapers.

Why? Because for the first time in more than half a century, a broad cross-section of the American public is talking about the concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top.

Score a big one for the Occupiers.

Even more startling is the change in public opinion. Not since the 1930s has a majority of Americans called for redistribution of income or wealth. But according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, an astounding 66 percent of Americans said the nation’s wealth should be more evenly distributed.

A similar majority believes the rich should pay more in taxes. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, even a majority of people who describe themselves as Republicans believe taxes should be increased on the rich.

I remember the days when even raising the subject of inequality made you a “class warrior.” Now, it seems, most Americans have become class warriors.

And they blame Republicans for stacking the deck in favor of the rich. On that New York Times/CBS News poll, 69 percent of respondents said Republican policies favor the rich (28 percent said the same of Obama’s policies).

The old view was anyone could make it in America with enough guts and gumption. We believed in the self-made man (or, more recently, woman) who rose from rags to riches – inventors and entrepreneurs born into poverty, like Benjamin Franklin; generations of young men from humble beginnings who grew up to became president, like Abe Lincoln. We loved the novellas of Horatio Alger, and their more modern equivalents – stories that proved the American dream was open to anyone who worked hard.

In that old view, being rich was proof of hard work, and lack of money proof of indolence or worse. As Herman Cain still says “if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

But Cain’s line isn’t hitting a responsive chord. In fact, he’s backtracked from it (along with much of the rest of what he’s said).

A profound change has come over America. Guts, gumption, and hard work don’t seem to pay off as they once did – or at least as they did in our national morality play. Instead, the game seems rigged in favor of people who are already rich and powerful – as well as their children.

Instead of lionizing the rich, we’re beginning to suspect they gained their wealth by ripping us off.

Mitt Romney is defensive about his vast wealth (reputed to total a quarter of a billion). He’s reverted to scolding his audiences on the campaign trail for “attacking people based on heir success.”

The old view was also that great wealth trickled downward – that the rich made investments in jobs and growth that benefitted all of us. So even if we doubted we’d be wealthy, we still gained from the fortunes made by a few.

But that view, too, has lost its sheen. Nothing has trickled down. The rich have become far richer over the last three decades but the rest of us haven’t. In fact, median incomes are dropping.

Wall Street moguls are doing better than ever – after having been bailed out by the rest of us. But the rest of us are doing worse. CEOs are hauling in more than 300 times the pay of average workers (up from 40 times the pay only three decades ago), as average workers lose jobs, wages, and benefits.

Instead of investing in jobs and growth, the super rich are putting their money into gold or Treasury bills, or investing it in Brazil or South Asia or anywhere else it can reap the highest return.

Meanwhile, it’s dawning on Americans that in the real economy (as opposed to the financial one) our spending is vital. And without enough jobs or wages, that spending is drying up.

The economy is in trouble because so much income and wealth have been going to the top that the rest us no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services we would produce at or near full employment.

The jobs depression shows no sign of ending. Personal disposable income, adjusted for inflation, was down 1.7 percent in the third quarter of this year – the biggest drop since the third quarter of 2009. Housing prices have stalled, home sales are down.

The only reason consumer spending rose in September is because we drew from our meager savings – mostly in order to pay medical bills, health insurance, and utilities. That’s the third month of savings declines, according to the Commerce Department’s report last Friday.

This can’t and won’t continue. Savings are now down to 3.6 percent of personal disposable income, their lowest level since the recession began.

Americans know a rigged game when they see one. They understand how much money is flowing into politics from the super rich, big corporations, and Wall Street — in order to keep their taxes low and entrench their privileged position.

The Occupy movement is gaining ground because it’s hitting a responsive chord. What happens from here on depends on whether other Americans begin to march to the music — and organize.

Archdiocese Of Boston: Satan Made You Gay Because He's Totally Pissed Off At God

More on "The Most Holy roman Catholic Church" (AKA: Baby Raper Central) from Joe.My.God. -- please follow link to original.

Archdiocese Of Boston: Satan Made You Gay Because He's Totally Pissed Off At God

According to the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, Satan made you gay just to piss off God.

In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture's account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God's handiwork.

The above-linked article was written by the policy advisor for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. So much for all that Catholic bullshit about "treating homosexuals with respect."

Thomas Friedman, Dirty Hippie

This from "Hullabaloo" - please follow link to original

Thomas Friedman, Dirty Hippie
by David Atkins

The column is already a day old, but a warm welcome is due nonetheless to Thomas Friedman, who has joined the ranks of the shrill:

This gets to the core of why all the anti-Wall Street groups around the globe are resonating. I was in Tahrir Square in Cairo for the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and one of the most striking things to me about that demonstration was how apolitical it was. When I talked to Egyptians, it was clear that what animated their protest, first and foremost, was not a quest for democracy — although that was surely a huge factor. It was a quest for “justice.” Many Egyptians were convinced that they lived in a deeply unjust society where the game had been rigged by the Mubarak family and its crony capitalists. Egypt shows what happens when a country adopts free-market capitalism without developing real rule of law and institutions.

But, then, what happened to us? Our financial industry has grown so large and rich it has corrupted our real institutions through political donations. As Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, bluntly said in a 2009 radio interview, despite having caused this crisis, these same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”

Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. One consumer group using information from calculates that the financial services industry, including real estate, spent $2.3 billion on federal campaign contributions from 1990 to 2010, which was more than the health care, energy, defense, agriculture and transportation industries combined. Why are there 61 members on the House Committee on Financial Services? So many congressmen want to be in a position to sell votes to Wall Street.

We can’t afford this any longer. We need to focus on four reforms that don’t require new bureaucracies to implement. 1) If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big and needs to be broken up. We can’t risk another trillion-dollar bailout. 2) If your bank’s deposits are federally insured by U.S. taxpayers, you can’t do any proprietary trading with those deposits — period. 3) Derivatives have to be traded on transparent exchanges where we can see if another A.I.G. is building up enormous risk. 4) Finally, an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they’re taking money from. The public needs to know.

Capitalism and free markets are the best engines for generating growth and relieving poverty — provided they are balanced with meaningful transparency, regulation and oversight. We lost that balance in the last decade. If we don’t get it back — and there is now a tidal wave of money resisting that — we will have another crisis. And, if that happens, the cry for justice could turn ugly. Free advice to the financial services industry: Stick to being bulls. Stop being pigs.

That Friedman has belatedly woken up this reality some five years or more behind the curve is nice, but typical of the shortsightedness of the Very Serious People.

Back when Friedman was praising globalization, asset-based growth, bipartisan fetishism and all things neoliberal, it obviously never occurred to him that when you break down the ability of nation-states to control multinational corporations, you also break down the need for the global elite to adhere to any sort of rules. They become literally and figuratively above the law. When you use McDonalds to conduct diplomacy between nations, well, McDonalds will ultimately control the nature of the relationship between nations for its own benefit.

Who is it that Thomas Friedman believes will put in place the rules he advocates? The brave new world he championed for two decades led inexorably and inevitably to this point. Now Friedman is an open Sinophile, longing for a government that can move to get things done without the sclerotic inconvenience of bureaucracy and keep corporate corruption in check. But he only gives cursory acknowledgment to the rejection of democracy inherent in that position, and practically none to the fact that China is quite protectionist in its policies--a direct rejection of the stances Friedman has been advocating for decades.

An increasing number of "serious" people are coming to realize far too late the multinational corporations and the global financial elite really don't follow any rules anymore, and don't intend to. This is shocking to them. They never saw it coming even as they championed the asset-driven economic policies that empowered those same elites.

Conservatives and neoliberals alike assume that rule of law, infrastructure and basic decency just happen. They're part of the automatic background of society, and they notice it as little as fish notice the water they swim in. It really doesn't occur to them that when you weaken the structures that support those things, they can and do disappear. Infrastructure decays without upkeep. Corporations and elites realize that there are no consequences to openly flouting the rule of law. Decency is for losers and suckers.

And then they recoil in shock at the consequences of the ideologies they themselves advocated, without even realizing the implicit connection.

In the endless debate between whether our elites are evil or stupid, the kindest thing we can say about Thomas Friedman is that at least he's apparently not evil. Welcome to the shrill hippie club, Mr. Friedman. Here's hoping you spend a little time assessing how we got to this point, and your role in helping create our current predicament.

The two halves of the eurozone are locked in a broken marriage

This from The Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Please follow link to original

The two halves of the eurozone are locked in a broken marriage
One by one, the democracies of Southern Europe are being broken on the wheel of monetary union.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International business editor

Greek premier George Papandreou and his ministers were cruelly depicted in cartoons knuckling to German orders or delivering the Nazi salute.

The yearly march commemorating the struggle against the Axis was blocked in Thessaloniki by protesters shouting "traitor" at Greece's aging president Karolos Papuolias, himself a teenage resistor.

The city band wore black ribbons of protest against the Memorandum, the hated document of EU-IMF submission. They downed instruments in silence as they passed the podium of ministers.

I do not wish to be anti-German, since German citizens have been misled by their own elites and Germany itself is the chief diplomatic and political victim of EMU's unfolding tragedy.

But this is what happens when you insert words such as "Überwachungskapazität vor Ort" (monitoring capacity on the ground) into EU summit conclusions.
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Europe’s inspectors will henceforth establish an occupation office in Athens to ensure the "full implementation" of austerity policies, for as long as it takes. Greece has been stripped even of the pretence of sovereignty.

This country that freed itself from Ottoman control in the 1820s (with French help), is reduced to a Sanjak of the new imperial order.

The Greeks will find out soon whether these officials answering to one Horst Reichenbach - unfortunately named for this delicate assignment (couldn't they find a Spaniard, or a Slovene?) - intend to foreclose on sovereign assets and transfer the proceeds to North European creditors. I do not think it would be wise for them to try.

Yes, Greece has gained debt relief: roughly €100bn, if you think life insurers, pension funds, and others will "volunteer" to join banks in accepting their 50pc haircut.

This will leave Greece with a public debt of 120pc of GDP in 2020 after nine years of depression, if all goes perfectly, the same level that set off the crisis.

Fresh EU-IMF loans will once again finance Greece’s trade deficit and ratchet up its foreign debt. Europe is papering over the elemental fact that Greece has an over-valued currency, cannot compete within EMU, and should leave. But that is to disturb the sanctity of the Project.

In Spain, unemployment is within a whisker of five million, reaching a crisis-high of 21.5pc in September. There are 1.4m households where no member of the family has a job. Some 560,000 people have no support at all.

The latest job losses have been in health care and education, a foretaste of what will happen once the EU-imposed guillotine drops in earnest after this month's elections.

It is an unhappy starting point for an economy tipping back into a double-dip recession. The business federation (CEOE) said a credit crunch is already "strangling Spain's industry".

"We can't go on like this. It is impossible to get out this crisis with austerity alone," said Socialist leader Alfredo Rubalcaba, calling on Europe's Left to force a change in EU policy. Buena suerte, Señor, or rather Viel Glück.

Meanwhile, Germany's jobless rate has fallen dramatically over the last five years to just 6pc, and there lies the rub. The promised EMU convergence never happened. What exists instead is a 30pc or 40pc intra-EMU currency misalignment between North and South. This is Europe's cancer.

The two halves are locked together in a broken marriage. To pretend otherwise is no longer responsible. The structural gap cannot be closed by debt-deflation in the South – the current default setting of EU policy. It could arguably be closed if Germany were to let the European Central Bank reflate the whole eurozone system.

Instead, the ECB has done the opposite, opting to blight the chances that Spain might just be able to claw its way back to viability within the constraints of EMU.

Spain is tightening fiscal policy with heroic stoicism. The ECB did not have to have make matters worse by tightening monetary policy as well. It choose to do so, knowing that 98pc of Spanish mortgages are linked to floating Euribor rates.

It did so when money supply growth was minimal across the eurozone, and core inflation was tame, and knowing that Europe's banks are about to shrink their balance sheets drastically to meet capital rules. "In trying to keep its monetary virginity in tact, the bank threatens to destroy the eurozone," said Paul de Grauwe from Leuven University.

So, the ancient nation of Spain – whether you date it from Sancho III (Rex Hispaniarum) in 1035 or Los Reyes Catolicos in 1496 – was ordered by the EU summit to "strictly implement" fiscal retrenchment.

Spain will be subject to "rigorous surveillance" and "discipline", like all the other EMU victims of mispriced German, Dutch, Belgian, and French capital flows, and the ECB's (earlier) negative real interest rates.

Who will subject the excess savers and capital flooders to "surveillance" and hold them to account for destabilizing Southern Europe? Who will "discipline" Germany? Who will tell Berlin to cut VAT and reduce covert export subsidies in order to mitigate North-South imbalances? Yes, this is cheeky. I make the point only because the inexorable logic of EMU has reduced us to such discussions. If Germany and her satellites had their own Thaler, their currency would rise to reflect underlying economic strength. The underlying crisis would solve itself.

As for the ancient nation of Portugal – dating to Vimara Peres in 868 – it is already under EU-IMF administration, or a "state of occupation" in the words of labour leader Carvalho da Silva. The unions have called a general strike for November 24.

This honourable nation, which pays its debts, has been put in a position by the warped effects of EMU where its external capital accounts have swung from surplus to a deficit of 104pc of GDP. The current account deficit is still 8pc of GDP.

What Portugal needs is a 40pc devaluation against Germany. Instead, premier Pedro Passos Coelho is trying to regain competitiveness through an "internal devalution", with swingeing cuts to pay, pensions, welfare, and health. These reforms are necessary, but you cannot deflate an economy back to viability where (EMU-induced) total debt is around 350pc of GDP. It is mathematical suicide.

In Italy, the coalition of premier Silvio Berlusconi was given an ultimatum to submit concrete plans within 48 hours on how to reorganize Italy’s complex society, touching on the neuralgic issues of labour rights (Article 18 of the labour code) and how to treat the elderly.

Nobody tells us what to do,retorted a furious Mr Berlusconi, who then gave his first hint of revenge by calling the euro a strange hybrid creation that hasnt convinced anybody.

The country has been told to reach a balanced budget by 2013, even though it already has a primary surplus, and one of the lower debt levels (public and private) in the OECD club. This policy risks pushing Italy into a slump that could set off the destructive debt dynamic so feared, as has just occured in Greece.

It misdiagnoses the problem in any case. Italy is in crisis because it cannot compete, not because of debt. (The stess has revealed itself in the debt markets, but that is a different matter). Italy is simply in the wrong currency. It will languish in perma-slump until wage rates once again reflect global market reality.

The EU refuses to confront the core issue, instead seeking to buy time for Europe's South by conjuring a €1.2 trillion bail-out fund (EFSF) that seeks uber-leverage through "first loss" insurance of bonds.

This concentrates risk for creditors. It further endangers France's AAA rating, the foundation of the fund. It almost guarantees faster contagion to euroland’s core.

Europe has resorted to this twisted device because Germany has vetoed all moves to fiscal union, Eurobonds, debt-pooling, or ECB activism. It is a Hail Mary pass, a last gamble when all else fails.

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned last week that euro failure threatens a thousand plagues. "No one should think that another half-century of peace and prosperity is assured"

She has the matter backwards. The euro itself is has become an engine of destruction and bitter cross-border rancour.

Europe will not be whole and happy again until the currency is broken into workable parts, and this misguided experiment is shut down for ever.

More On, "Has America Become An Oligarchy"

Earlier I put up a post from Der Spiegel titled, "Has America Become An Oligarchy?"

Here is a visual aid I neglected to post.

Headline: "Snowstorm hits US East Coast killing at least nine"

"Killing at least nine".

I think it's called WEATHER. It changes all the time.

Because of GLOBAL WARMING it has become less predictable, more intense (they told us that would happen - remember?)

All I know is that I'm 72, lived in the N.Y. area most of my life (with five years up in Syracuse), have seen massive snow storms, hurricanes, etc. and do not recall such body counts in the past.

Either the weather is getting worse, or our infrastructure is -- or, perhaps both at the same time.

Don't you think it would make sense to upgrade our infrastructure - since we sure can't control the weather?

The homeless are thrown out with the trash

This from Aljazeera by Barbara Ehrenreich. Please follow link to original

The homeless are thrown out with the trash
Occupy protesters are facing homelessness issues as more stringent laws have undermined basic human dignity.

Some of the Occupy Wall Street encampments now spreading across the US have access to "porta-potties" (eg: Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC) or, better yet, restrooms with sinks and running water (as in Fort Wayne, Indiana). Others require their residents to forage for toilet facilities on their own. At Zuccotti Park, just blocks from Wall Street, this means long waits for the restroom at a nearby Burger King - or somewhat shorter queues at a Starbucks a block away. At McPherson Square in DC, a twenty-something occupier showed me the pizza parlour where she can use the facilities during the hours the restaurant is open, as well as the alley she uses late at night. Anyone with restroom-related issues - arising from age, pregnancy, prostate problems or irritable bowel syndrome - should prepare to join the revolution in diapers.

Of course, political protesters do not face the challenges of urban camping alone. Homeless people confront the same issues every day: how to scrape together meals, keep warm at night by covering themselves with cardboard or tarp, and relieve themselves without committing a crime. Public restrooms are sparse in US cities - "as if the need to go to the bathroom does not exist", travel expert Arthur Frommer once observed. And yet to yield to bladder pressure is to risk arrest. A report entitled "Criminalising Crisis", to be released later this month by the National Law Centre on Homelessness and Poverty, recounts the following story from Wenatchee, Washington:

"Toward the end of 2010, a family of two parents and three children that had been experiencing homelessness for a year-and-a-half applied for a two-bedroom apartment. The day before a scheduled meeting with the apartment manager during the final stages of acquiring the lease, the father of the family was arrested for public urination. The arrest occurred at an hour when no public restrooms were available for use. Due to the arrest, the father was unable to make the appointment with the apartment manager and the property was rented out to another person. As of March 2011, the family was still homeless and searching for housing."

Illegal to be homeless

What the Occupy Wall Streeters are beginning to discover, and homeless people have known all along, is that most ordinary, biologically necessary activities are illegal when performed in American streets - not just urinating, but sitting, lying down and sleeping. While laws vary from city to city, one of the harshest is in Sarasota, Florida, which passed an ordinance in 2005 that makes it illegal to "engage in digging or earth-breaking activities" - that is, to build a latrine - cook, make a fire, or be asleep and "when awakened, state that he or she has no other place to live".

It is illegal, in other words, to be homeless or live outdoors for any other reason. It should be noted, though, that there are no laws requiring cities to provide food, shelter or restrooms for their indigent citizens.

The current prohibition on homelessness began to take shape in the 1980s, along with the ferocious growth of the financial industry (Wall Street and all its tributaries throughout the nation). That was also the era in which we stopped being a nation that manufactured much beyond weightless, invisible "financial products", leaving the old industrial working class to carve out a livelihood at places such as Wal-Mart.

As it turned out, the captains of the new "casino economy" - the stock brokers and investment bankers - were highly sensitive, one might say finickity, individuals, easily offended by having to step over the homeless in the streets or bypass them in commuter train stations. In an economy where a centimillionaire could turn into a billionaire overnight, the poor and unwashed were a major buzzkill. Starting with Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York, city after city passed "broken windows" or "quality of life" ordinances, making it dangerous for the homeless to loiter or, in some cases, even look "indigent", in public spaces.

Story of a pregnant woman

No one has yet tallied all the suffering occasioned by this crackdown - the deaths from cold and exposure - but "Criminalising Crisis" offers this story about a homeless pregnant woman in Columbia, South Carolina:

"During daytime hours, when she could not be inside of a shelter, she attempted to spend time in a museum and was told to leave. She then attempted to sit on a bench outside the museum and was again told to relocate. In several other instances, still during her pregnancy, the woman was told that she could not sit in a local park during the day because she would be 'squatting'. In early 2011, about six months into her pregnancy, the homeless woman began to feel unwell, went to a hospital, and delivered a stillborn child."

Well before Tahrir Square was a twinkle in anyone's eye, and even before the recent recession, homeless Americans had begun to act in their own defence, creating organised encampments, usually tent cities, in vacant lots or wooded areas. These communities often feature various elementary forms of self-governance: food from local charities has to be distributed, latrines dug, rules - such as no drugs, weapons, or violence - enforced. With all due credit to the Egyptian democracy movement, the Spanish indignados, and rebels all over the world, tent cities are the domestic progenitors of the US occupation movement.

There is nothing "political" about these settlements of the homeless - no signs denouncing greed or visits from left-wing luminaries - but they have been treated with far less official forbearance than the occupation encampments of the "American autumn". LA's Skid Row endures constant police harassment, for example, but when it rained, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had ponchos distributed to nearby Occupy LA.

'Out of sight'

All over the country, in the past few years, police have moved in on the tent cities of the homeless, one by one, from Seattle to Wooster, Sacramento to Providence, in raids that often leave the former occupants without even their minimal possessions. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, last summer, a charity outreach worker explained the forcible dispersion of a local tent city by saying: "The city will not tolerate a tent city. That's been made very clear to us. The camps have to be out of sight."

What occupiers from all walks of life are discovering, at least every time they contemplate taking a leak, is that to be homeless in the US is to live like a fugitive. The destitute are our own native-born "illegals", facing prohibitions on the most basic activities of survival. They are not supposed to soil public space with their urine, their faeces or their exhausted bodies. Nor are they supposed to spoil the landscape with their unusual wardrobe choices or body odours. They are, in fact, supposed to die, and preferably to do so without leaving a corpse for the dwindling public sector to transport, process and burn.

But the occupiers are not from all walks of life, just from those walks that slope downwards - from debt, joblessness and foreclosure - leading eventually to pauperism and the streets. Some of the present occupiers were homeless to start with, attracted to the occupation encampments by the prospect of free food and at least temporary shelter from police harassment. Many others are drawn from the borderline-homeless "nouveau poor", and normally encamp on friends' couches or parents' folding beds.

In Portland, Austin and Philadelphia, the Occupy Wall Street movement is taking up the cause of the homeless as its own, which of course it is. Homelessness is not a side issue unconnected to plutocracy and greed. It's where we're all eventually headed - the 99 per cent, or at least the 70 per cent, of us, every debt-loaded college graduate, out-of-work school teacher, and impoverished senior - unless this revolution succeeds.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs

This From "Daisy's Dead Air"

From "Daisy Deadhead's" blog, "Dead Air" -- a letter from Occupy Columbia (South Carolina) to Gov. Nikki Haley -- please follow link to original. Bookmark it. Read on a regular basis. Discover there are PROGRESSIVES EVERYWHERE in the USA.

The following is an open letter to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley from Occupy Columbia:

On Thursday, Governor Nikki Haley said that unions are behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. We contest that accusation. This is a leaderless movement that welcomes participation from all groups, but neither bows down nor endorses any. We’ve publicly invited all people or organizations, whether they be Unions or the Tea Party, to come take part in a conversation about economic injustice and a system that is rigged to benefit the 1% at the direct expense of the 99%.

We challenge Governor Haley to produce evidence to back up her claim. If she would attend one of our General Assemblies (held every day at 10:00am and 7:00pm), she would realize that all decicions made by Occupy Columbia are voted on by those in attendence. We require a 90% threshold for consensus, and no group, Union or otherwise, has the ability to control that.

On the other hand, it was the Governor herself who said, earlier this morning, that she is the “number one employee” of a pharmaceutical company and that their success is her “number one goal.” This company, Nephron Pharmaceuticals is the same company whose private jet she used to fly to a fundraiser in Dallas, TX last month, according to Fits News.

We had members in attendance for this morning’s announcement, one holding a sign reading “Who owns you?” Her number one priority should be the success of the people of South Carolina, not the non-body person that is a major pharmaceutical company.

By her statement, she is the personification of the merger of state and corporate interests. We applaud her bold honesty, but find it hard to believe that she can be expected to be accountable after such a declarative pledge of allegiance to the highest bidder

Scots teachers 'forking out' to buy classroom resources

This from The BBC -- I guess the austerity that would "grow the economy" just is not working - please follow link to original.

Teachers from across Scotland have told the BBC they have spent hundreds of pounds of their money on basic resources for their classrooms.

Almost 300 teachers contacted BBC Scotland through the EIS union. On average they said they had spent about £188 in the past year.

Several said they had spent more than £1,000 on items like pens and jotters.

Cosla, the body representing Scottish councils, said teachers should in no way be using their own money.

Of those who replied to the BBC's request for information about 15% said they had "forked out" more than £300.

The most common items bought included pens, pencils and rulers, cartridges for printing and photocopying, books - including textbooks and novels - and paper.

They also itemised things they bought to make the classroom more fun, such as toys, games and food ingredients for baking lessons.

One teacher said she had run a marathon to raise money for an overhead projector, and another claimed she had to buy her own chair.

One teacher wrote: "Without these resources my lessons would be very boring for the children and my classroom would resemble a Victorian classroom rather than a Curriculum for Excellence classroom."

Another said: "I would imagine if I was to keep an accurate diary, the figure would be staggering. I would imagine it would be in the region of £1,000, perhaps more."

In her response another teacher wrote: "My husband insists that teachers are propping up the failing system by continuing in this practice. This is true but we could not implement the new curriculum otherwise "

Not all teachers minded having to spend money on resources.

One teacher said: "We have a choice. We can supply it ourselves or the kids go without "

But as household budgets are squeezed, and teachers' pay is frozen, it seems the goodwill to supply these resources may be dwindling.

Jim Thewlis, from School Leaders Scotland, said: "Teachers are now going to look more critically at this extended professionalism and see it perhaps within the context more of moral blackmail rather than extended professionalism.
List of items teachers bought Teachers told BBC Scotland they were having to buy classroom basics with their own money

"It would be reasonable to say that the quality of experience will be damaged by the fact that extra resources that are going into the classroom on the back of the goodwill of teachers are not going to be there."

Ronnie Smith, from the EIS, added: "We have the government picking the pockets of teachers on pension contributions, we have major curricular reform, we have resource cutbacks and really teachers will judge the Scottish government on what they actually are doing and what their experience on the classroom is."

Education Secretary Mike Russell told BBC Scotland: "The Scottish government is working with Cosla on the implementation of statutory guidance for devolved school management, through which head teachers should have sufficient control over their own school budgets to ensure they have adequate school supplies and equipment."

A spokesman for Cosla said: "Even in this tough financial climate teachers in our schools should in no way be using their own money to provide classroom materials.

"As such, we would have to question the reliability of this research and how representative it is.

The Second Gilded Age. Has America Become an Oligarchy? By Thomas Schulz

This from Der Spiegel -- titled, "Has America Become An Oligarchy" - It's in three parts

Part 1: Has America Become an Oligarchy?
Part 2: The Winner-Take-All Economy
Part 3: An Evolutionary View of Economics

I will put up part one -- please follow the link to parts 2 and 3

The Second Gilded Age
Has America Become an Oligarchy?

By Thomas Schulz

The Occupy Wall Street movement is just one example of the sudden outbreak of tension between America's super-rich and the "other 99 percent." Experts now say the US has entered a second Gilded Age, but one in which hedge fund managers have replaced oil barons -- and are killing the American dream.

At first, the outraged members of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York were mainly met with ridicule. They didn't seem to stand a chance and were judged incapable of going up against their adversaries, Wall Street's bankers and financial managers, either intellectually or in terms of economic knowledge.

"We are the 99 percent," is the continuing chant of the protestors, who are now in their seventh week of marching through the streets of Manhattan. And, surprisingly, they have hit upon the crux of America's problems with precisely this sentence. Indeed, they have given shape to a development in the country that has been growing more acute for decades, one that numerous academics and experts have tried to analyze elsewhere in lengthy books and essays. It's a development so profound and revolutionary that it has shaken the world's most powerful nation to its core.

Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. Those fortunate enough to belong to the 1 percent, made up of the super-rich, stand on one side of the divide; the remaining 99 percent on the other. Even for a country that has always accepted opposite extremes as part of its identity, the chasm has simply grown too vast.

Those who succeed in the US are congratulated rather than berated. Resenting other people's wealth is viewed as supporting class struggle, which is something very frowned upon.

Still, statistics indicate that the growing disparity is genuinely overwhelming. In fact, the 400 wealthiest Americans now own more than the "lower" 150 million Americans put together.

Nearly two-thirds of net private assets are concentrated in the hands of 5 percent of Americans. In comparison, the upper 5 percent of Germany hold less than half of net assets. In 2009 alone, at the same time as the US was being convulsed by mass layoffs, the number of millionaires in the country skyrocketed.

Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt.

A New 'Gilded Age'

In a book published in 2010, American political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson discuss how this "hyperconcentration of economic gains at the top" also existed in the United States in the early 20th century, when industrial magnates -- such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan -- dominated the upper stratum of society and held the country firmly in their grip for years.

Writer Mark Twain coined the phrase "the Gilded Age" to describe that period of rapid growth, a time when the dazzling exterior of American life actually concealed mass unemployment, poverty and a society ripped in two.

Economists and political scientists believe the US has entered a new Gilded Age, a period of systematic inequality dominated by a new class of super-rich. The only difference is that, this time around, the super-rich are hedge fund managers and financial magnates instead of oil and rail barons.

A Threat to the World Economy

The academics fear this change could have serious consequences for the country's economic future. As they see it, this extreme inequality threatens to dramatically slow growth in the world's largest economy. This is part of a development, they argue, that has been under way for years but remained largely hidden in the years of cheap credit, rising real estate prices and excessive consumption -- when it seemed everyone was on the way up. And the problems only came to light with the arrival of the financial crisis.

Through the 1970s, income for Americans across all social classes rose nearly in lockstep, by an annual average of roughly 3 percent. Starting in the 1980s, however, this trend underwent a fundamental transformation. Granted, the economy continued to grow -- but almost exclusively to the benefit of the country's top earners. The major economic expansion under President Ronald Reagan benefited only a few, and the problem only grew worse under George W. Bush.

At least since the beginning of the millennium, it has no longer been a simple matter of two societal extremes drifting further apart. Instead, the development is also accelerating. In the years of economic growth between 2002 and 2007, 65 percent of the income gains went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. Likewise, although the productivity of the US economy has increased considerably since the beginning of the millennium, most Americans haven't benefited from it, with average annual incomes falling by more than 10 percent, to $49,909 (€35,184).

follow link to 2 and 3.

Occupy The DOE


The Panel for Education Policy (or PEP), enacts policy for the New York City Dept. of Education.

The PEP replaced the Board of Education when Mayor Bloomberg took control of the schools in 2002.

It is intended to be a democratic forum where people voice concerns, prior to the panel's vote on educational policy.

Today the panel is convening to discuss new standards being implemented in schools.

200 parents, teachers staff and students are in attendance.

Rajat Gupta, Merely Affluent By DAVID LEONHARDT

This is how deluded the rich can become, when they are not as rich as they think they should be. It seems (just like some of the "lower classes", they resort to CRIME. It may not be smash and grab -- it's worse. When you really believe YOU are above "the rules", any rules, you are surely headed for a fall -- we hope.

Anyway, this from The New York Times blog, Economix. Please follow link to original.

Rajat Gupta, Merely Affluent

Rajat Gupta was rich by almost any standard. He just wasn’t rich compared with many of the people who surrounded him. He knew it, and he didn’t seem to like it.

More than a few of his friends and colleagues had tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. They included his fellow board members at Goldman Sachs, the alumni of McKinsey & Company — a firm that Mr. Gupta ran and that paid him a few millions of dollars a year — who then made fortunes on Wall Street and, perhaps most important, his friend Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge-fund manager sentenced to 11 years in prison for insider trading. Mr. Gupta, who was indicted Wednesday for passing along corporate secrets to Mr. Rajaratnam, has proclaimed his innocence.

What seems beyond doubt, however, is that he was envious of the wealth that his peers were amassing. In that way, Mr. Gupta is a symbol of a different kind of income inequality from the one at the heart of the Occupy Wall Street protests, where demonstrators proclaim themselves part of the “other 99 percent” and criticize the top 1 percent of earners.

Mr. Gupta was surely part of the 1 percent. But seems to have felt as if he was part of the other 99 percent of that 1 percent.

You don’t have to sympathize with him to see how his envy could have affected the choices he made — orienting his post-McKinsey career around making money, handing over large chunks of his money to Mr. Rajaratnam and, at least according to prosecutors, going to great lengths to curry favor with Mr. Rajaratnam.

Such envy extends well beyond people accused of committing crimes. The inequality among the rich is a major force pushing many graduates of the country’s top colleges to Wall Street and drawing middle-aged professionals from other lines of work to finance.

Consider the numbers. Three decades ago, a taxpayer at the cutoff for the top 0.01 percent of earners — that is, in the top 1/10,000th — was making about 10 times as much as someone at the cutoff for the top 1 percent, according to research by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty.

Since then, the top 1 percent has done very well, nearly doubling its income in inflation-adjusted terms, which is a far bigger raise than most households have received. Yet the very rich have done vastly better: someone at the cutoff for the top 0.01 percent now makes 30 times as much as someone at the top 1 percent, according to the latest numbers.

To someone making a few million dollars a year, these very rich — rather than the median-earning American — are often the relevant benchmark. “Most families are trying to keep up with the Joneses,” as Catherine Rampell wrote in a post here earlier this year. “And in dollar terms, the rich are falling far shorter of their respective Joneses than the middle-income and lower-income are.”

Washington Post Discards All Journalistic Standards in Attack on Social Security

This from Dean Baker on FDL. Please follow link to original.

As Prof. Brad DeLong says -- "Why, oh why, can't we have a better press corps?".

Washington Post Discards All Journalistic Standards in Attack on Social Security

News outlets generally like to claim a separation between their editorial pages and their news pages. The Washington Post has long ignored this distinction in pursuing its agenda for cutting Social Security, however it took a big step further in tearing down this barrier with a lead front page story that would have been excluded from most opinion pages because of all the inaccuracies it contained.

The basic premise of the story, as expressed in the headline (“the debt fallout: how Social Security went ‘cash negative’ earlier than expected”) and the first paragraph (“Last year, as a debate over the runaway national debt gathered steam in Washington, Social Security passed a treacherous milestone. It went ‘cash negative.’”) is that Social Security faces some sort of crisis because it is paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes. [The "runaway national debt" is also a Washington Post invention. The deficits have soared in recent years because of the economic downturn following the collapse of the housing bubble. No responsible newspaper would discuss this as problem of the budget as opposed to a problem with a horribly underemployed economy.]

This “treacherous milestone” is entirely the Post’s invention, it has absolutely nothing to do with the law that governs Social Security benefit payments. Under the law, as long as there is money in the trust fund, then Social Security is able to pay full benefits. There is literally no other possible interpretation of the law.

As the article notes the trust fund currently holds $2.6 trillion in government bonds, so it is nowhere close to being unable to pay benefits. The whole point of building up the trust fund was to help cover costs at a future date when taxes would not be sufficient to cover full benefits. Rather than posing any sort of crisis, this is exactly what had been planned when Congress last made major changes to the program in 1983 based on the recommendations of the Greenspan commission.

The article makes great efforts to confuse readers about the status of the trust fund. It tells readers:

“The $2.6 trillion Social Security trust fund will provide little relief. The government has borrowed every cent and now must raise taxes, cut spending or borrow more heavily from outside investors to keep benefit checks flowing.”

This is the same situation the government faces when Wall Street investment banker Peter Peterson or any other holder of government bonds decides to cash in their bonds when they become due. In such cases it “must raise taxes, cut spending or borrow more heavily from outside investors.” The Post’s reporters and editors should understand this fact.

The article then goes on to incorrectly accuse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of misrepresenting the finances of Social Security:

“In an MSNBC interview, he [Senator Reid] added: ‘Social Security does not add a single penny, not a dime, a nickel, a dollar to the budget problems we have. Never has and, for the next 30 years, it won’t do that.’
Such statements have not been true since at least 2009, when the cost of monthly checks regularly began to exceed payroll tax collections. A spokesman said Reid stands by his comments and his view that Social Security is entirely self-financed.”
Of course Senator Reid is exactly right. The system is self-financed under the law. In 2009 it began drawing on the interest on the government bonds it held. That is exactly what the law dictates, when Social Security needs more money than it collects in taxes, it is supposed to draw on the bonds that were purchased with Social Security taxes in the past. This means it is self-financing.
Again, this is like Peter Peterson selling his government bonds to finance one of his political ventures. Just like Social Security, he is drawing on his own money. The Post may have missed it, but there was a big debate last summer over raising the government’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. This $14.3 trillion figure included the $2.6 trillion borrowed from Social Security. If Social Security sells some of these bonds and this money is used to pay benefits, it does not raise the debt subject to the ceiling by a penny. This is very simple and very clear.
The article then turns to Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles who describes a plan he put forward along with former Senator Alan Simpson, his co-chair on a deficit commission appointed by President Obama [the article wrongly describes this plan as being the commission's plan. That is not true, the commission did not approve any plan.]

“It would have hit upper-income workers while raising benefits for the most needy, those with average lifetime earnings of less than $11,000 a year. ‘By making these relatively small changes, you make it solvent and you make it be there for people who depend on it,’” Bowles said. ‘I thought that’s what we as Democrats were supposed to be for.’”

Actually the plan put forward by Bowles and Simpson would have implied large cuts for most low-income workers who would not have met the work requirements needed for the higher benefit. The cut would have taken the form of a 0.3 percentage point reduction in the annual cost of living adjustment. This cut would be cumulative, after 15 years of retirement a beneficiary would be seeing a benefit that is roughly 4.5 percent lower as a result of the Bowles-Simpson plan. The plan also phased in an increase in the age for receiving full benefits to 69, which is also a benefit cut for lower income retirees.

For lower income retirees Social Security is the overwhelming majority of their income. This means that the benefit cut advocated by Bowles and Simpson would imply the loss of a much larger share of their income than the end of the Bush tax cuts would for the wealthy. However, the Post has never described the ending of these tax cuts as a “modest” or “small” tax increase.

It is also worth noting that “upper-income workers” who would face benefit cuts under the Bowles-Simpson plan are people with average earnings of more than $40,000 a year. This is not ordinarily viewed as the cutoff for upper income. In reference to the ending of the Bush tax cuts, the Post once ran a front page story questioning whether people earning $500,000 a year were wealthy. Clearly they apply a different standard to Social Security beneficiaries.

To push its line of fat and happy seniors the Post misrepresented research by Gene Steurele on returns from Social Security taxes. At one point it told readers:

“That return is diminishing, in part because people today have paid more into the system than previous generations. But a two-earner, middle-income couple retiring this year can expect to get $913,000 in Social Security and Medicare benefits over their lifetimes, in return for $717,000 in payroll taxes.”

The trick in this picture is that the return refers to Social Security and Medicare, not just Social Security which is the topic of the article. The Steurele paper actually has the Social Security returns shown separately in the exact same chart. Stuerele calculated that the two-earner couple referred to in the article would pay a bit less than $600,000 in taxes into the system and collect around $560,000 in benefits.

[This couple will get more back in Medicare benefits than they paid in taxes, but this is primarily because our health care costs twice as much per person as in any other wealthy country. This is a good argument for reforming the U.S. health care system but has nothing to do with the topic of the article.]

This article also repeatedly refers to the debate over cutting benefits as being an “ideological battle.” There is no evidence presented in this piece that there is any ideological issue at stake. On the one hand are hundreds of millions of workers who want to see the benefits that they paid for. On the other hand are many wealthy people, exemplified by people like Peter Peterson and Erskine Bowles who would rather use Social Security money to keep their own taxes low or to serve other purposes.

This is a battle over who gets the money. The references to ideology just confuse the situation.

[Addendum: Art Dover called my attention to another inaccuracy in the article. It asserts: "The payroll tax holiday is depriving the system of revenue." This is not true. Under the law, Social Security is 100 percent reimbursed from general revenue for the taxes that were lost as a result of the payroll tax holiday. This is yet another fabrication by the Post in its crusade to cut Social Security.]

The Path Not Taken

Dr. Krugman's latest column - follow link to original

The Path Not Taken

Financial markets are cheering the deal that emerged from Brussels early Thursday morning. Indeed, relative to what could have happened — an acrimonious failure to agree on anything — the fact that European leaders agreed on something, however vague the details and however inadequate it may prove, is a positive development.

But it’s worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine — a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.

The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.

This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative — that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets — and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.

Some economists weren’t convinced. One caustic critic referred to claims about the expansionary effects of austerity as amounting to belief in the “confidence fairy.” O.K., that was me.

But the doctrine has, nonetheless, been extremely influential. Expansionary austerity, in particular, has been championed both by Republicans in Congress and by the European Central Bank, which last year urged all European governments — not just those in fiscal distress — to engage in “fiscal consolidation.”

And when David Cameron became Britain’s prime minster last year, he immediately embarked on a program of spending cuts in the belief that this would actually boost the economy — a decision that was greeted with fawning praise by many American pundits.

Now, however, the results are in, and the picture isn’t pretty. Greece has been pushed by its austerity measures into an ever-deepening slump — and that slump, not lack of effort on the part of the Greek government, was the reason a classified report to European leaders concluded last week that the existing program there was unworkable. Britain’s economy has stalled under the impact of austerity, and confidence from both businesses and consumers has slumped, not soared.

Maybe the most telling thing is what now passes for a success story. A few months ago various pundits began hailing the achievements of Latvia, which in the aftermath of a terrible recession, nonetheless, managed to reduce its budget deficit and convince markets that it was fiscally sound. That was, indeed, impressive, but it came at the cost of 16 percent unemployment and an economy that, while finally growing, is still 18 percent smaller than it was before the crisis.

So bailing out the banks while punishing workers is not, in fact, a recipe for prosperity. But was there any alternative? Well, that’s why I’m in Iceland, attending a conference about the country that did something different.

If you’ve been reading accounts of the financial crisis, or watching film treatments like the excellent “Inside Job,” you know that Iceland was supposed to be the ultimate economic disaster story: its runaway bankers saddled the country with huge debts and seemed to leave the nation in a hopeless position.

But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver.

So how’s it going? Iceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. But it has managed to limit both the rise in unemployment and the suffering of the most vulnerable; the social safety net has survived intact, as has the basic decency of its society. “Things could have been a lot worse” may not be the most stirring of slogans, but when everyone expected utter disaster, it amounts to a policy triumph.

And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: The suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.

#OWS Guest Post: Denver Police Use Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, Batons and Pepper Spray On Protesters

I enjoyed putting up music -- but the police actions all around the country against dissent - that does not consist of older white guys with AR-15's and pistols, but plain old UNARMED "regular folks" -- is just plain UNAMERICAN!!

This from Denver, by way of "Naked Capitalism" - please follow link to original.

#OWS Guest Post: Denver Police Use Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, Batons and Pepper Spray On Protesters

Police pointing “non-lethal weapons” at protesters and media:

Rubber bullet wounds:

There are reports – just as in Oakland – of police attacking people while they were trying to help the injured:

Man being SHOT w/ riotgun while assisting injured persons

The problem is militarization of police departments and the use of anti-terror laws to crush dissent.

Please go to the original -- read, watch, click on the links, gain some perspective on the insanity of our growing POLICE STATE!

Buddy Collette / Chico Hamilton Sextet 1954 ~ Coming Back For More

Buddy Collette - Tenor Sax / Clarinet
John Anderson - Trumpet
Jim Hall - Guitar
Gerald Wiggins - Piano
Curtis Counce - Bass
Chico Hamilton - Drums

Chico Hamilton,Eric Dolphy-Lost in the night

dont blame me -charlie parker

Charlie Parker - "Crazeology"

Charlie Parker - out of nowhere

Charlie Parker-Klactoveesedstene

Cops Sue Occupy Wall Street Protesters?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


This from -- follow the link, go there, read. Some good stuff.

by Blair Braverman


There were at least six drums at Occupy Chicago, and as many different beats: a group of teenagers pounding on upside-down trash bins in front of the Federal Reserve; a man sitting cross-legged with a bongo, hands fluttering; a woman with her eyes closed, shaking a tambourine. There was a teenage girl with a ukulele, playing Little Boxes, and two old men singing behind her. Across the street, a Marine in uniform, plucking Carol of the Bells on an electric guitar. When he saw me watching, he blushed. “It’s all I can play,” he said. A few minutes later a cop walked by, humming.


My partner, a drummer, has tried to teach me about polyrhythms. He is always tapping: quick with one hand, slow with the other, then switching. “Can you hear it?” he asks me sometimes, at the sound of distant music. A simple rhythm isn’t enough—he looks for patterns, he says, weaving over each other. “A richness of texture,” he calls it. “Interdependent beats. It’s something that can’t be made any other way.”


I don’t know about music, but I know a thing about volume. When I worked as a dogsled guide, I was used to a special kind of quiet, a still cold night, the only sounds dripping snow and clinking collar tags. But once in a while, suddenly, something would happen. A dog would tilt back his throat, yip softly, then again, little puffs of air rising through him. In an instant the whole kennel would be alert, the dogs all watching. The puppies—it was always the puppies who caught on first, who raised their tails and joined in, standing on their houses, their howls squeaky, uncertain. Then an old dog or two, voices like cellos, and soon the whole thing swelled, every dog leaping, every howl different, the sound of it all full and overwhelming, and the air itself—the night itself—changed. And it shook me—really, it shook me. I would listen, sure that there was nothing more in the world than this, and that I’d never hear anything like it again.


Back in Chicago, the woman with her eyes closed handed me an extra tambourine. I was listening to the guitarists, trying to find a song I could play along to. I’d find one, catch the beat for a while, and then lose it. The woman smiled at me. She put her hand over mine, so we were shaking the tambourine together. She said, “Do you hear it?” I said I did. “Go ahead and play loudly,” she told me. “That’s the whole point.”

Corporations Want Instant Ready Disposable Workers, Not Employees

The following from "Economic Populist" -- please follow link to original.

Corporations Want Instant Ready Disposable Workers, Not Employees
Submitted by Robert Oak on Wed, 10/26/2011 - 03:23

The Wall Street Journal finally said what most working people know, there is no worker, or skills or talent shortage in America. The real problem is employers, their arcane human resources policies, and the demand for instant ready workers like some sort of ready to eat microwave meal.


There's more ---- go read it!

No Sign of Recovery

This from "Financial Armageddon. Please follow link to original.

Isn't the "recovery" wonderful!!

No Sign of Recovery

While housing starts, new home sales, existing home sales, and homebuilder sentiment, have largely gone nowhere since the 2006-2009 crash, and supply-and-demand fundamentals continue to support a pessimistic outlook, hope springs eternal -- especially on Wall Street -- that a recovery is around the corner.

Unfortunately, if the reports coming back from those who supply the goods (and services) that tend to be in demand when housing market conditions are healthy (like the ones I've highlighted below) are any guide, the optimists might want to have a rethink.
Appliance manufacturers

"Whirlpool Plummets as Appliance Demand Slips to 2009 Levels" (Bloomberg)

Whirlpool Corp., the world’s largest maker of appliances, sank the most since 2008 after saying it will cut 5,000 jobs and lowering an annual profit forecast by as much as 36 percent with demand in the U.S. falling back to recessionary levels.


Whirlpool, which generates about half its revenue outside North America, shipped fewer appliances to every region except Asia in the third quarter. Demand declined as U.S. consumer confidence fell, the sovereign debt crisis accelerated in Europe and inflation slowed growth in emerging markets, Chief Executive Officer Jeff M. Fettig said today in a conference call with analysts.

Recession-Level Demand

Demand for major appliances in the U.S., Whirlpool’s largest market, has fallen back to the “recessionary levels” of 2009, Fettig said. Whirlpool’s shipments in North America may drop as much as 5 percent this year, down from an original forecast of as much as a 2 percent gain, the company said.

“Consumers are trading down to lower price points, housing is still dead, and the consumer is still stressed,” Sprague said, adding that reduced demand is affecting a range of big- ticket appliances, from air conditioners to fridges. “That has had an adverse effect.”
Furniture makers

"Furniture Recovery Stalls as Housing Values, Confidence Sink" (Bloomberg)

The U.S. furniture industry hasn’t emerged from the recession because a “gridlock in housing” has sapped spending on couches and home items, said Furniture Brands International Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ralph Scozzafava.

Revenue at Furniture Brands, the maker of the Broyhill, Lane and Thomasville lines, is projected to drop for a fifth straight year in 2011, to $1.15 billion, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Demand won’t recover without a rebound in housing sales and consumer confidence, Scozzafava said. Home prices in 20 U.S. cities declined more than forecast in August, spotlighting the housing slump’s drag on the economic recovery.

“From a big-ticket perspective, we’ve never seen housing rush back,” Scozzafava, 52, said in an interview this week at the company’s Thomasville showroom in High Point, North Carolina. “We need housing and consumer confidence to move. We’re still in a recession.”

Consumers are waiting for discounts or not buying at all, according to several manufacturers displaying goods at the International Home Furnishings Center in High Point. More than 2,000 exhibitors show home furnishings twice a year at the market, attracting major chains and independent retailers replenishing their stores.

Consumer Confidence

“If middle-class people do not buy houses, they are not buying furniture,” said Amy Bai, manager of Drayton Hall Furniture, exhibiting Chinese-made dining room tables on the sixth floor. “The past two years have been quiet, this market even more quiet.”
Floor covering manufacturers

"Shaw Industries to Shut Dalton Plant, Cut 270 Jobs" (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

DALTON, Ga. -- [The world's largest carpetmaker,] Shaw Industries, has announced plans to close a Dalton, Ga., carpet plant within the next 60 days, a move that will cost 270 jobs.

Plant 20, which Shaw spokesman Al Scruggs described as "a traditional four-wall carpet plant," currently produces complete rolls of carpet from yarn on Riverbend Drive.

The massive building was one of Shaw's many acquisitions on its road to carpet dominance, but has become the latest casualty of a recession that just won't let go.

Scruggs described the closure as part of the "larger umbrella of right-sizing" due to stiff economic headwinds, though it will ultimately help the company save money as it shifts workers and equipment to other pants.

As with other recent mill closures, Shaw will give some employees the option to choose another job within Shaw, and the Georgia Department of Labor is expected to offer retraining to workers unable to secure another carpet job.

The latest announcement comes after Shaw announced layoffs in Eton and Ringgold in August, on top of the closure of a Chatsworth yarn plant in April.

Denial In Depth

An interesting post from Dr. Paul Krugman about right-wing "debate tactics" (AKA - out and out lies). Please follow link to original.

Denial In Depth

Columbia Journalism Review has a takedown of a “study” from American Enterprise Institute purporting to show that inequality hasn’t increased, after all. What’s striking is the way AEI doesn’t even resort to the usual practice of concocting misleading numbers; it just flat-out lies about what various other peoples’ research, like Robert Gordon’s work, actually says.

Oh, and read the comments for entertainment. CJR, welcome to my world.

What I found myself thinking about, however, is the way the inequality debate illustrates some typical features of many debates these days: the way the right has a sort of multi-layer defense in depth, which involves not only denying facts but then, in a pinch, denying the fact that you denied those facts.

Think about climate change. You have various right-wingers simultaneously (a) denying that global warming is happening (b) denying that anyone denies that global warming is happening, but denying that humans are responsible (c) denying that anyone denies that humans are causing global warming, insisting that the real argument is about the appropriate response.

I’m not sure there are three levels (yet) on inequality, but we definitely have (a) right-wingers denying that inequality is rising and (b) denying that anyone is denying the rise in inequality, but attacking any proposal to limit that rise.

You might ask, how is it possible to take such mutually contradictory positions? And the answer is, it’s very easy if confusing the debate is your job.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Did Oakland Police Intentionally Shoot Marine Vet Scott Olsen In the Head?

This from "Zero Hedge" -- this is just a "taste" -- please follow link and go to the original -- read the rest, and watch the videos.

The following photograph on videos show that Marine veteran Scott Olsen was peacefully standing at the Oakland protest when police fired a projectile at him:


Here is a photo of the ammunition or projectiles which police shot at the Oakland protesters:

One ex-Marine -- a combat veteran -- took a rubber round in the head. He is in critical condition and may die. That was not a mistake; that was aimed fire and an intentional assassination. Sorry folks, that's facts - from 50' you don't "miss" and hit someone in the head with these things if you're shooting for the legs or other non-vital parts. He was shot in the head by someone who aimed for the head. Those projectiles are not "non-lethal" and the bomb thrown by a cop at the people trying to come to his assistance after he fell wasn't tossed accidentally either.

A marine says that Oakland used crowd control methods that are prohibited in war zones, and that the shot must have been intentional:

Go to the original -- read the rest. It's important

Greek reaction to the new "Save The Greeks" (and the European economy) deal -- "Adolf Merkel"


Right-wing types might go crazy -- after all, "All American" Bank taken over by "International Bank of Chicago" -- where Rahm is mayor. Can you see the "Nazi-Communist-Muslim-Tri-Lateral" plot involved? As usual it MUST be Obama's fault.

Press Releases
International Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, Assumes All of the Deposits of All American Bank, Des Plaines, Illinois

October 28, 2011
Media Contact:
LaJuan Williams-Young
(202) 898-3876

All American Bank, Des Plaines, Illinois, was closed today by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Banking, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with International Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, to assume all of the deposits of All American Bank.

The sole branch of All American Bank will reopen during normal business hours as a branch of International Bank of Chicago. Depositors of All American Bank will automatically become depositors of International Bank of Chicago. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of All American Bank should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from International Bank of Chicago that it has completed systems changes to allow other International Bank of Chicago branches to process their accounts as well.

This evening and over the weekend, depositors of All American Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

As of June 30, 2011, All American Bank had approximately $37.8 million in total assets and $33.4 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits, International Bank of Chicago agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank's assets.

Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-350-2746. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Central Daylight Time (CDT); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., CDT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., CDT; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., CDT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., CDT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $6.5 million. Compared to other alternatives, International Bank of Chicago's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. All American Bank is the 85th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the ninth in Illinois. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Country Bank, Aledo, on October 14, 2011.

Phil Ochs - Love me, I'm a Liberal.

Dedicated to Mayor Quan, and all other "liberals"

Quan Chased from Occupy Oakland Rally

Mayor Quan of Oakland is just another "liberal". This from "The Bay Citizen" - please follow link to original.

Quan Chased from Occupy Oakland Rally

Mayor Jean Quan, who approved the removal by force of Occupy Oakland this week, apologized Thursday, even as protesters chased her from a rally and defied her requests not to camp by erecting 30 tents, a child care center, a library and a small garden.

Quan was greeted with cries of “Go home!” and “Citizen’s arrest” when she attempted to address hundreds of protesters gathered near City Hall late Thursday evening. The mayor retreated into the building after some demonstrators rushed at her, refusing to let her speak, witnesses said.

An hour earlier, Quan, who has been battered with criticism over Tuesday’s raid and violent aftermath, released a statement in which she directly addressed the protesters.

“I am deeply saddened about the outcome on Tuesday,” Quan said in the statement. “It was not what anyone hoped for, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened.”

A video was later posted on the mayor's Facebook page showing Quan reading the statement from her office; noise from the Occupy Oakland rally can be heard intermittently in the background.

Some of the protesters said they supported Quan and expressed disappointment that she had not been able to speak.

“I would have liked to hear what she had to say,” said Elias Welsh, whose 75-year-old father was arrested during the Tuesday morning raid. “If we disagree with it, we’ll defy it. But we should at least hear what she has to say.”

But many treated the mayor, a longtime activist, with open contempt.

For most of Thursday, Quan wavered over whether to address protesters at Occupy Oakland's daily meeting, known as a general assembly. She told friends and aides that she planned on attending the proceedings at 6:30 p.m.

Quan finally appeared at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza around 10:30 p.m., just as the general assembly was ending. The mayor, apparently alone, walked up one of the wheelchair ramps toward the amphitheater stage.

By the time she reached the platform, protesters had realized who she was and surrounded her, according to witnesses. Some screamed epithets, including “bitch.”

Quan quickly retreated up the steps of City Hall, trailed by jeers. She disappeared into the mayor’s office. The lights remained on until at least 11:30 p.m. but it was unclear whether Quan was inside.

“Don’t just come out here demanding the mic,” a protester who identified himself as Darren said after Quan had left. “Innocent people got hurt over what you do.”

Oakland resident Alexandria Thompson said Quan would have no influence over the protesters.

“Once you have a movement like this, you can’t stop it,” Thompson said. “The whole world is sympathizing with what’s happening here. She’s not the mayor people thought she would be.”

In her statement, Quan issued a list of “requests” to the protesters. In addition to direct communication, allowing for access to emergency personnel and maintaining safe conditions, the mayor asked the protesters “not to camp overnight.”.

But dozens of people ignored her. On Wednesday, protesters pulled down a chain-link fence surrounding the lawn area that was the site of the previous encampment. By Thursday, the fence had been repurposed as a geometric work of art, and the contours of another tent city had begun to take shape.

The new Occupy settlement appears certain to grow: Protesters served chickpeas and rice from heated vats Thursday night and added to a posted list of needed supplies, including additional tents, portable toilets, tables, first aid kits, batteries, tarps, sleeping bags and food.

In many ways, the protesters — not the city — appear to be dictating events. As some members of Occupy Oakland began to repopulate the plaza, they said that Quan would be allowed to speak, as long as she stood in line like everybody else.

“The camp says anyone can come down and speak to us in a truly democratic fashion,” Adam Jordan said before Quan appeared. “If she’s not coming out, we’re not coming in.”

Other protesters told City Hall officials Thursday morning that interim police Chief Howard Jordan would also be welcome to speak, if he came without his uniform.

Quan has continued to face harsh criticism in response to Tuesday's raid, even from her closest allies, and has been portrayed as tentative and out of touch. The mayor was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the raid; when she returned later that night, she phoned City Hall staffers and even reporters for information about the violence raging in the center of her city.

On Wednesday, Quan assumed full control of the city's emergency operations center, where she directed police response to that night's protest, according to officers who were also in the room.

Josie Camacho, the executive director of the Alameda Labor Council, and Quan's longtime friend and unpaid legal advisor Dan Siegel both denounced Quan after police shut down the encampment. Siegel said Wednesday he was considering resigning.

But after a series of meetings Thursday, Camacho, Siegel and others again appeared to support Quan. Siegel said Thursday he has no plans to resign.

“We told her, if we let this movement continue, we will have a lot of pride for stepping out there,” Camacho said. “And we will have your back.”

Quan now appears to be aligning herself — and by extension, the city — with the movement. Earlier Thursday, she apologized to Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran who suffered a serious head injury during Tuesday night's protest, and encouraged him to speak with police.

“We are a nation in crisis,” Quan said in her statement. “Oakland more than most cities faces budget cuts, unemployment and foreclosures. We are also a Progressive city. And as a long-time civil rights activist and union organizer I want my City to support the movement."

According to Siegel and Camacho, Quan is considering ways to allow the protesters to set up camp in public spaces, with the assurance that health and safety conditions would be met and that city health workers, fire and police would be allowed to provide services and perform inspections. If protesters remained in tents past 10 p.m., the mayor’s office said they would likely receive citations, but would not be arrested.

“We can really envision down the road that we’re building this movement,” Camacho said. “We’re allowing people to stay where they want to stay. When do you see homeless and students and families come together in a shared space? Isn’t that the way this society is supposed to be?”

Later, when asked if Quan would give protesters an ultimatum, Siegel responded: “I don’t think the protesters are interested in being told what to do.”